Back to the showdown. Elijah told Ahab: “Summon all Israel to join me at Mount Carmel, along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who are supported by Jezebel.
So Ahab summoned all the people of Israel and the prophets to Mount Carmel. Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, ‘How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him! But if Baal is God, then follow Him!’ But the people were completely silent.
“Then Elijah said to them, ‘I am the only prophet of the Lord who is left, but Baal has 450 prophets. Now bring two bulls. The prophets of Baal may choose whichever one they wish and cut it into pieces and lay it on the wood of their altar, but without setting fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood on the altar, but not set fire to it. Then call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by setting fire to the wood is the true God!’ And all the people agreed.
Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, ‘You go first, for there are many of you. Choose one of the bulls, and prepare it and call on the name of your god. But do not set fire to the wood.’
So they prepared one of the bulls and placed it on the altar. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning until noontime, shouting, ‘O Baal, answer us!’ But there was no reply of any kind. Then they danced, hobbling around the altar they had made.
About noontime Elijah began mocking them. ‘You’ll have to shout louder,’ he scoffed, ‘for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!’” (I Kings 18:19-27, NLT).
Elijah is so confident of the Lord’s great power that he’s thoroughly enjoying himself. He’s probably been sipping lemonade, filing his nails, reading a few scrolls. Relaxed. Perfectly at ease.
But look at the 850 prophets competing against him! They’re exhausted. They’ve screamed and danced “from morning until noontime” and all they’ve accomplished is sore throats and sore feet.
Elijah decides to have a little fun. “You’ll have to shout louder,” he tells them. And then he suggests: “Perhaps he is daydreaming.” Next he really pours on the insult: Maybe Baal “is relieving himself.” Or could it be that he’s “away on a trip” or “asleep and needs to be wakened?”
Eighty hundred and fifty to one. Doesn’t sound like great odds, does it? But we’re talking 850 false prophets and an equally false god against one real prophet and the One and Only Real God. Whether you’re one or one thousand, if God is on your side, you’re the majority.
Don’t look at the obstacle. Look to Jesus.
“God has defeated Satan through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through this overwhelming victory, God has also empowered you to overcome any temptation to sin and has provided sufficient resources for you to respond biblically to any problem of life. By relying on God's power and being obedient to His Word, you can be an overcomer in any situation.” (John C. Broger)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates